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Brocaded velvet with falconer and attendant in animated lattice, from a robe

Brocaded velvet with falconer and attendant in animated lattice, from a robe

mid 1500s

Velvet, brocaded and pile-warp substitution: silk and gilt-metal thread

Overall: 79.4 x 66.7 cm (31 1/4 x 26 1/4 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1944.239

Description

This signature Safavid velvet displaying a falconry scene is celebrated for its refined beauty, meticulous draftsmanship, and exemplary technique with eight colors of velvet pile. A falconer and attendant flank a tall blossoming plant on a golden ground of lobed medallions. Animated foliate vines display leaves bearing lion’s masks and dragons coiled around larger leaves on the rich crimson velvet ground. Instead of two or three colors of velvet pile, ingenious Iranian weavers wove velvets with as many as 14 colors of velvet pile, the most colorful velvets ever woven. They substituted one color of pile warp with another one. This created fringes of the cut pile warps on the back, called pile-warp substitution.

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